Crime Prevention Tips
In order for an offender to commit a crime, three elements must be present: desire, ability, and opportunity. Little can be done to remove an offender's desire or ability to commit crimes, but we can all work together to remove the opportunity for the crime to be committed. This is the essence of Crime Prevention.
Here are some things you can do to help fight crime:
- Stay in well-lighted, public areas, whether driving or walking.
- When walking in public (or even just to your parked car), walk with a friend or coworker (we provide escorts at the University).
- Walk confidently. Your body language tells criminals whether you look like a victim.
- While driving, always lock your car doors and roll up your windows.
- If your car breaks down, do the following:
- Raise the hood, turn on your hazard lights, and tie a red or white cloth to your antenna or side view mirror.
- Stay in the car, lock the doors, and roll up the windows.
- If you have a cell phone, call the police or emergency roadside service.
- If someone stops to help, ask them to call the police.
- Always keep blankets, a good pair of walking shoes, a first aid kit, and a flashlight (with fresh batteries) in your car, just in case.
- When returning to your parked car, check in, under, and around your car before getting in (remember to look in the back seat floorboard or rear storage area).
- Be extra aware of your surroundings when using a drive-through service, such as a fast food restaurant or an ATM; drive away if you become uncomfortable.
- Beware the "bump and rob." If another car with multiple occupants (especially young males) bumps your car under suspicious circumstances, motion to the driver to follow you, then drive to the nearest well-lighted public area to exchange information.
- Keep your doors locked while at home, and require proper identification before admitting anyone unfamiliar to your home (such as delivery persons, utilities employees, or service personnel).
- If someone on an elevator makes you uncomfortable, don't get on (or get off immediately if already on), and wait for the next elevator.
- Always report suspicious people or activities to the police immediately.
- Above all, pay attention to your surroundings.
Protect your property
- With the theft of iPhones, iPads, and other electronic devices on the rise, the Electronic Device Security PDF lists the steps you can take to greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim, and what steps to take if you do.
- Lock your door every time you leave your workplace, even for just a couple of minutes (many thefts occur in a 3 to 5 minute time period).
- Secure valuables in a locked drawer or cabinet (Key Control can install or repair locks, if necessary); don't leave the keys in a nearby unlocked drawer.
- Operation ID; mark or engrave your driver's license number on all valuable personal property; engravers are available for check-out at the University Police Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
- Keep a list containing pertinent information (such as serial number, brand, color, model, etc.) in a convenient location.
- Properly secure your bicycle to a bicycle rack, and register it with the University Police.
- Carry a wallet in a front or inside pocket; if you carry a purse, hold it close to your body.
Protect your car. A vehicle is stolen every five minutes somewhere in Texas.
- Always lock your car doors and roll the windows all the way up.
- Park in well-lighted, public areas.
- Never leave your car's motor running while unattended. It is against the law.
- Don't leave valuables in your car; if you must do so, keep them out of sight (preferably in the trunk).
- Never attach a tag with your name or address on it to your key chain; if the keys are lost, they could be used to steal your car.
- Engrave the VIN on numerous parts of your car, such as the windows, door frames, and bumpers; marked parts are more difficult to sell, and thieves prefer to avoid them.
- Register your car with the Help End Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.) Program; peace officers are allowed to stop vehicles bearing H.E.A.T. decals between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. if they are being operated on a public roadway.
- Install a theft deterrent device or system on your car, such as:
- kill switches (electricity or fuel cutoff)
- steering wheel locks/bars
- tapered interior door locks
- steering column collars
- security systems (with audible alarms)
- tracking systems
- When parallel parking, turn your wheels toward the curb. This makes it more difficult for thieves to tow your car.
Protect your home
- Keep lights on during the nighttime, both at the front and back of your home.
- Ensure all exterior doors are constructed of solid-core wood or metal.
- Install high-quality dead bolt locks, and use them.
- Install secondary locking mechanisms (such as pins) on windows and sliding glass doors.
- If you have an interior thumb-turn lock within 40 inches of a window, consider replacing it with a double cylinder lock (check local zoning laws first, and ensure a key is always kept near to each door, so people living in your home can escape quickly in case of a fire).
- Install peepholes with a minimum of a 190-degree field of view in all exterior doors.
- When away from your home for an extended time, take the following precautions:
- Place cars in the garage (if you have one), and unplug garage door openers.
- Have a trusted neighbor or friend check on your home daily, and maintain a lived-in appearance (collect newspapers/mail, mow the lawn, etc.).
- Use a timer to turn lights and/or radios on and off.
- Notify your security company, if you have a monitored security system.
- If you live in an apartment, notify the management.
- Keep trees and bushes neatly trimmed; overgrown vegetation provides a perfect hiding place for burglars.
- Remove the small knob or handle attached to the end of the cord that detaches your garage door opener from the garage door; burglars have tools that can grab the knob and allow them to access your garage.
- Mark all valuable personal property in your home and keep a list containing pertinent information about the property (serial numbers, brand, model, etc.); such property is more difficult to sell and is unattractive to burglars.
- Don't keep large amounts of cash at home; the bank is safer (and insured).